REVIEW: Solido Volkswagen Beetle Baja •

REVIEW: Solido Volkswagen Beetle Baja

If you are one of those people who likes quirky cars or admire the Volkswagen brand, then this 1:18 scale Solido Volkswagen Beetle Baja will definitely spark up your fire. A Volkswagen Baja Beetle was a modified VW to drive on sandy dunes and beaches, as it competed in Baja races in North America and Mexico. Enthusiasts even brought it to public roads to show their original take on the standard Volkswagen Beetle. This Bug looks wild from all the angles, so I thought I would add some rocks to give photos a little more character.

This model is packaged in a standard Solido 1:18th scale presentation box. Mirrors come attached to the model, however the rather long antennas are included in a separate clear plastic bag taped inside the box. You will have to attach them to the model yourself, and doing so will require finding two very small holes on each side of the plastic engine guard. I strongly suggest you glue them in, as any model movement will cause them to fall off (if you like them attached to the model that is). Before doing so, I also suggest taking a close look at both ends of the antennas, in order to glue the correct side in.

Looking at the model inside the box, you cannot miss a rather long exhaust pointing to the sky – well almost. Jokes put aside, your eyes are completely drawn to it first. Once out of the box, I can appreciate the fact that Solido chose an interesting specification with a reasonable overall fit and finish. I do like this particular spec, as well as the ability to see the mostly exposed engine. The main body shell is crafted in die-cast metal, with the engine and all the protective guards reproduced in plastic.

The metallic blue paint with all the decal graphics, gives this model a playful look. I think the whole package looks rather interesting – this is surely a first for me!  Overall paint application is solid with no visible paint over spays. The decal application is decent – I do not see peeling anywhere. So far so good Solido!

Door shut lines are on point as the real car did not have razor-thin panel gaps either. I do like the inclusion of windows on both doors, and black-painted outlines are a very nice bonus. They are visible around all windows including the little triangle windows at the front of both doors – much appreciated.

BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain T/A tires are branded with white paint in the form of a script, and the tire tread has a good amount of pattern to reassure you this is a capable Dune Buggy. It is nice to see Solido did not just slap on any tire and went to the depth of making an off-road tire. The style of black rims chosen does not show much of what is behind them – there is just a lot of black. I personally would have preferred a little colour – even in the form of silver bolts.

Inside, the model is predominantly black with only some blue representing harness seatbelts in the form of a decal. I would have preferred some colour to add to the ambience in order to break up all the darkness. Overall interior finish is absolutely representative of a budget scale model.

At the front, you will notice the “Hella” off-road lamps mounted on the protective bar which is made of plastic. The “BAJA BUG” license plate is a very good choice and goes well with the overall theme of this Beetle. I do like the chrome around headlights and do appreciate the orange turning signals. Since I am on the topic of turning signals, I would have preferred them to be plastic pieces and not just painted, and the housing shows some chrome and not just silver paint. Keeping in mind this is a budget model, I am willing to accept some cost-cutting measures.

At the back, the model looks just wild. With mostly open engine bay, those tall antennas and the massive muffler, there is nothing that shies away here! The rear lights are separate plastic pieces, and their housing shows off some chrome. The engine is basic, however I do appreciate that it is not just plain black. You will find some orange, silver and black and I think that works quite well. A large engine protective guard is there to finish off the rear end.

To sum things up, l think this is a very capable and well spec’d out Volkswagen Beetle Baja edition. It would be difficult to find a model like this made by other budget brands, and I think Solido excels with its variety of budget die-cast models. If you like Volkswagens or if you love quirky, I say go and get one, as it certainly has some great shelf presence!

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10 Responses to "REVIEW: Solido Volkswagen Beetle Baja"

  1. DS Team says:

    Hey Luke, thank you for the review and the fantastic photos! Capturing this buggy in the elements is just perfect! As for model, we love it! Just something about resonates well, even as a budget-friendly piece! Solido should be proud of this one, we would consider it one of their best examples to date!

  2. “Now for some less serious fun. I think that Solido have really nailed it with two of its latest 1/18 diecast releases – the Beetle BAJA, 1975/76 (metallic blue S1809601) and (red S1809602). I don’t usually head into a scale model review in the mindset of dismantling and rebuilding them but this pair beg that to be done. I could happily use all four pages this month just on the BAJA theme, as these two are fascinating and enticing in equal measure.Throw in the latest colour version of Solido’s superb Meyers Manx Buggy (purple metallic S1802706) as well and the potential for conversion and modification modelling here is immense. Make no mistake the models are great as supplied but with customisation their potential is virtually limitless.

    Serious stuff first though: using brand new toolings for the main bodywork both represent the first generation “Super Beetle” – the 1302 of 1971-72. The flat windscreen is not quite flat enough in my view but the rest of the modelling is great. Particularly notable are the early 1970s US rear light clusters, and with the enhancement of a touch of Tamiya Acrylic X-27 Clear red paint on the moulded reflector panels of the chrome light housings, they make probably the best 1/18 scale US Beetle rear light clusters ever made. What is missing are the matching larger US market front indicator lamps which Solido have the tooling for and used on theVW 1303 “Custom Metallic Red” (S1800512) (Wolfsburg Winners October 2020 issue).

    As for the less serious stuff, the engines are standard ‘upright’ four-cylinder ones from the Beetle and interestingly slightly different from the one in the Manx. High rise suspension systems, protection cages etc., are all fabulous.The roof rack on the red version begs loading up and the long-range lamps it carries are notable in that they carry clear lens detailing inset in the chromed surrounds. Immediate thoughts for conversion work include fine detailing the engines or replacing them with a Porsche flat six, swapping baseplates/chassis between the BAJA and the Manx to make a seventies street BAJA and full off-road BAJA Buggy (!). Moving into the eighties, when so much wild customisation was being carried out on late series Beetles, the blue version with its rear scoop cowling begs being turned into a Custom Concours creation.

    Or for an ultimate conversion job the biggest challenge would be to create something akin to a 1302 converted along the lines of BAJA styling but shown at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show as a drag racer named “Big Fire” by German tuning ace Theo Decker from Essen (TDE). Needless to say that did have a Porsche 911 engine hanging out of the tail! “( quoted from my “Into the New Year” feature Diecast Collector January 2024 issue)
    However there is one serious issue with both version Baja models. The bodywork is retooled from the established Solido 1303 (Super) Beetle of 1973-75 to (roughly) represent the preceding 1302 body shell of 1971-72 and modified Baja fashion. The flaw in the remodelling is that the 1302 still had the traditional, flat, metal dashboard (covered for the USA and European “L” package versions with a padded black covering) whereas the 1303 had a totally new curved plastic dashboard (with distinctive raised speedometer housing) and as held over into these Baja models. A disappointing error and a surprising one given Solido’s increasing attention to authenticity of modelling and detail. Moreover an error seen as a fundamental one in Volkswagen Model Collecting circles.

    • DS Team says:

      Wow, thank you for the list of details, definitely insightful. I wasn’t aware of Diecast Collector; seems January is dedicated to Volkswagen – an awesome choice. Also, reviewing your FB link, thank you for DCOTM support!

    • Kostas says:

      It is always very interesting to read comments like yours Stephen, about general information and meaningful car model customizations from experienced collectors like you. Unfortunately I do not possess the skill of customization, but I have bought 2 model cars in the past that were customized very successfully and elegantly from a very skilled car model designer enthusiast, Herbert Messing, that is very sadly no longer with us.

      The 1st one is the Revell BMW 850 CSi that was repainted and customized meticulously and perfectly in all aspects, inside and out. The final outcome is a real eye candy, a joy to watch. A different model car, very close to Autoart standarts in my opinion. I have sent some pictures of it in the past to DS. The 2nd is a VW Beetle 1303 that was also repainted and customized inside and out with some Porsche parts. The dashboard from a 911 (993) and four 3-part Porsche Fuchs wheel. The result is also very satisfying. It is like a VW Porsche one off experiment.

      In my opinion, when customization is needed and is also tasteful and successful, it can really upgrade and elevate a model car to an upper tier. And by this I mean not only in the looks department, but also in terms of level of details and overall quality.

  3. Roger Lodge says:

    Great review!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Jastein says:

    Thanks for the excellent review and pics! I love the car. Reminds me of R/C buggies that I loved so much as a teenager (and still do actually).

  5. Ryser says:

    Merci a diecastsociety , avec toujours les dernières sorties , avec de très belles photos , et des textes parfaits , bravo .

  6. Vitaliy D says:

    I can’t say I’m interested in this exact model, but I want to say that the review and the photos are absolutely great! Very well done!

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